The 150th anniversary of the birth of William Butler Yeats has prompted Ace Cultural Tours to offer an exceptional, once-in-a-lifetime tour of the landscape, architecture and history of the poet’s spiritual home, County Sligo, which he called the “Land of Heart’s Desire, where beauty has no ebb.” Yeats poetry lovers will be familiar with many of the sites on the 5-day “Yeats Country” itinerary, among them Rosses Point, Dooney, Dromahair, Lissadell, Innisfree and Drumcliffe, where the poet is buried beside a church where his paternal great-grandfather had been rector.
A few highlights of the Yeats Country Tour by Ace Cultural Tours:
- Maeve’s cairn on Knocknarea
- Carrowmore megalithic cemetery
- Walking tour at Rosses Point, where the young Yeats visited his relatives’ homes
- Lough Gill: Tobernalt, Dooney Rock and Dromahair
- Creevelea Abbey (Ireland’s last Franciscan friary founded in 1508)
- Parke’s Castle, a 17th century fortified, restored manor house
- Boat trip on Lough Gill to view Innisfree and other sites associated with Yeats
- Drumcliffe burial place of Yeats and his wife George, at the foot of Benbulben mountain. The graveyeard has the remains of a round tower and an early medieval high cross
- Lissadell early 19th century home of Yeats’s friends, the Gore-Booth family
- Guided tour of the Niland Collection 20th century Irish art including works by Yeats’s brother, Jack B Yeats
The year-long Yeats2015 is a national and international celebration of WB Yeats in cities throughout Ireland and Europe, Tokyo and New York. The British Library, Coole Park, IT Sligo, and the National Concert Hall are a few of the venues hosting events this year.
- Through September in the Yeats Room at St. Brendan’s Cathedral Loughrea, Galway, is an exhibition of art and artifacts belonging to the Yeats Family. Guided talks are offered daily, 3 to 6 pm.
- The Life and Works of William Butler Yeats exhibition at the National Library of Ireland. Tours at 2 p.m. on March 5th, April 2nd, May 7th, June 4th, July 2nd, August 6th, September 3rd, and October 1st.
- The Hamilton Gallery in Sligo is also welcoming visitors to a year of Yeats-focused exhibition and lectures.
- In the Sligo County Museum, the Yeats Room is full of manuscripts, photo, letters and memorabilia, and a complete collection of his poems from 1889 to 1936.
Expect goosebumps when you watch an online film starring Michael Gambon reading The Song of Wandering Aengus. The film highlights Yeats’ special connection with Sligo and features wonderful images of this part of Ireland, including the spectacular Ben Bulben.